A reader just received an email that she suspects is not the real thing:

“I keep getting a notice (in spam) that iCloud is attempting to contact me to charge me for my 50 GB storage but there’s a problem w/my account info & I need to update it.

I hesitate removing this email from Spam because it seems suspicious to me. Hence, I’m contacting you!”

It certainly sounds like a classic phishing scam to me and that your spam filter was right on the money it into a spam folder.

My first question would be, “Do you have a paid iCloud storage account that you use with your iPhone or Mac?”  Your basic iCloud storage is free for those devices. The only way to get the expanded paid storage is to sign up for it.  If you didn’t sign up for paid iCloud storage for your iPhone, iPad, or Mac, there’s no way this notice is the real thing.

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If you do happen to subscribe to paid storage from Apple, I still wouldn’t click on that email.  Instead, I’d go online and check my iCloud account in a browser or on my phone.

Here’s what Apple has to say about the situation: “If you receive an email asking you to update your account or payment information, only do so in Settings directly on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch; in iTunes or the App Store on your Mac; or in iTunes on a PC.

To update your password for the Apple ID that you use for purchases, do so only in Settings on your device or at appleid.apple.com.”

Once you’ve logged into your account, look for any notices that say there’s an issue with your account.

Another version of this scam is to send you a receipt that makes it appear that you’ve signed up Apple Music, paid iCloud storage, or some other premium service. Of course, since you didn’t sign up for these services, you wonder what the heck is going on and follow the links.

Scammers like these will either then direct you to a site that will download malware onto your device or attempt to get your credit card or other personal information out of you in order to reverse these alleged charges for service you didn’t sign up for.

Apple clearly states that they will never ask for the following information via email:

  • Social Security Number
  • Mother’s maiden name
  • Full credit card number
  • Credit card CCV code

As always, be vigilaint!